Adam Perry Lang, the chef/proprietor of the chef/proprietor of LA hot spot APL and a forthcoming Napa Valley steakhouse, reveals today that in the early 2000s, he worked as a private chef for convicted sex offender and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
“Almost 20 years ago, as a young chef I was hired to work for Jeffrey Epstein,” the chef says in a statement sent to Eater this afternoon. “My role was limited to meal preparation. I was unaware of the depraved behavior and have great sympathy and admiration for the brave women who have come forward.” A representative for the chef clarifies that “no further comment will be issued” about his relationship to Epstein.
The comment comes in response to recently unsealed court documents in which a pilot claims that Adam Perry Lang flew with Epstein aboard his private plane on several occasions in 2000 and 2001. According to flight logs, the chef traveled with Epstein to Palm Beach, Florida; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the Virgin Islands.
Lang’s name appears in two depositions that were released last month by a federal appeals court, just hours before Epstein apparently killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell. The documents are connected to the 2015 lawsuit that Virginia Roberts Giuffre — a woman who claimed that Epstein kept her as a teenage “sex slave” — filed against the financier’s close associate Ghislaine Maxwell. These newly released depositions from that case, which was settled before its court date in 2017, include allegations of sexual misconduct involving Epstein and his famous friends — including MIT professor Marvin Minsky, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, Prince Andrew of Britain, and superlawyer Alan Dershowitz, among others. (Dershowitz has claimed that he was mistaken for Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold, who also famously palled around with Epstein.)
Lang’s name is mentioned several times in a deposition from David Rodgers, a pilot who ferried Epstein and his associates to the billionaire’s various hideaways. Rodgers’s deposition does not suggest that Lang participated in — or was even aware of — Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged criminal acts. Lang’s relationship to Epstein is also never explicitly spelled out in these documents. At one point, the pilot mentions that Lang sometimes stayed at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse on East 71st Street, and occasionally rode with the pilot and his crew “to or from the airport.”
While going through his flight log, Rodgers explicitly lists Lang as a passenger along with Epstein and Maxwell on six flights between 2000 and 2001. He details a trip in May of 2001 from Teterboro Airport to Palm Beach, where the passengers were Epstein, Maxwell, Lang, and Emmy Tayler, a woman who was reported to be Maxwell’s assistant, according to the Telegraph. According to reports from numerous accusers and former employees, Epstein and Maxwell would recruit young girls from nearby schools into performing sexual massages on him and other houseguests at his mansion in Palm Beach. Giuffre says that she first met Maxwell and Epstein in 2000, when she was 16, and began performing massages on him at the Palm Beach house.
According to the pilot’s account, Lang also flew from Teterboro to the Virgin Islands with Epstein, Maxwell, and Giuffre in December of 2000. Epstein owned a 70-acre island in the area at the time, Little St. James, where he would entertain his A-list friends. According to several locals and former employees, Epstein was also known to visit the island — which he referred to as “Little St. Jeff’s” — with underage girls. Both Giuffre and a woman named Sarah Ransome claim that they were forced into sex acts by Epstein and his associates on the Island. Ransome alleges that she was trafficked for sex by Epstein and Maxwell between 2006 and 2007, when she was in her early 20s.
The deposition also alleges that Lang traveled from Teterboro to Santa Fe four months after the Virgin Islands trip with Epstein, Maxwell, Minsky, and shipping heir Henry Jarecki. Since the late ’90s, Epstein owned a sprawling high-desert estate near Santa Fe, which he dubbed “Zorro Ranch.” At parties and other private events, Epstein openly discussed plans to use this ranch as a base where women could be inseminated with his sperm and give birth to his children, thus “seed[ing] the human race with his DNA,“ according to an unnamed scientist who spoke with the Times. During a court hearing in Manhattan last month, a woman who only identified herself as Jane Doe claimed that she was invited to the ranch in 2004 when she was 15 and was sexually assaulted there by Epstein.
Before today, Lang, a New York-born chef who cooked in some of Manhattan’s finest restaurants in the late ’90s, had never spoken about having any connection to Jeffrey Epstein. But five years ago, in an interview with Texas Monthly, the chef briefly alluded to his private cheffing days in 2000 and 2001, telling Daniel Vaughn, cryptically, “I catered to one individual.” A 2003 profile in the New York Times also notes that he was “fresh from a four-year stint as the personal chef to a billionaire whose identity he will not reveal.” In numerous interviews and profiles, Lang has also mentioned working on a ranch in New Mexico during these years, and learning about barbecue. “I had back surgery and I had to take some time off, so I worked as a private chef,” Lang told ABC News a few years ago. “Doing that took me to New Mexico, and I got to cook with cowboys.”
After his stint in New Mexico, Lang returned to Manhattan in 2003 and opened one of the city’s most influential barbecue restaurants, Daisy May’s. Around five years later, Lang left that restaurant and worked as a consultant on a few big-budget projects including Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa in London, and Mario Batali’s Carnevino in Las Vegas, both of which have since closed. The chef later moved to LA and became best pals with Jimmy Kimmel, who partnered with Lang on a series of barbecue pop-ups in the years leading up to the opening of APL. Over the last decade, Lang has also hosted a barbecue block party with Oprah, published numerous acclaimed cookbooks, and appeared on the Netflix food series Ugly Delicious and The Chef Show.
Note: This post was updated on September 13 at 6:11 p.m. to reflect the statement from Adam Perry Lang.